A scientist’s insights into bird feather design could change the way we make adhesives and planes
Tarah Sullivan, a researcher at the University of California San Diego, discovered that bird feathers work a lot like Velcro. Feathers feature a series of small hook-like structures, which zip back together when pulled apart. They work like a natural adhesive. Sullivan also discovered that the spacing between these small hook-like structures was the same no matter what type of bird. Sullivan worked with a research group led by Marc Meyers, a professor in the school’s Departments of Nanoengineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Professor Eduard Arzt, from Saarland University in Germany, was also involved. Research by the group was published January 2019.